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6 Unusual Ways in Which Color can Affect our Choices in Life

6 Unusual Ways in Which Color can Affect our Choices in Life

Color can affect us in great measures. Starting from our mood, emotions, to actions and words – color can significantly affect them, psychologists say. It is well known that certain colors have certain type of effects and meaning, such as white representing innocence, or that blue makes us calm, or that red makes us aggressive, passionate and alert.

However, not everyone believes this. Or not everyone consciously notices this. The whole topic of psychology of color has been a great trick used by marketing agencies, supermarkets, designers and the rest. It certainly paid off for them. And when you think about it, we have been under the influence of color all along. Just think about the clothes you are wearing, your hair color, your house, car and everything else. Aren’t those things in that specific color because you wanted them like that?

Clearly, color has power, both subconsciously and consciously. And, with that in mind, here are 6 unusual ways in which color can affect us.

1. It can make us more confident and sexually attractive

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Rocking a colorful outfit

    Little black dress? Red lipstick? It’s no wonder these two are the staples of beauty and fashion. Black and red have been voted the most confidence-inspiring colors, according to this survey. Both men and women would prefer wearing black to important dates or interviews. According to them, black is the biggest confidence booster.

    However, when it came specifically to first dates, women said they’d rather wear something red as it inspires passion and makes them feel sexy. When it came to men, whether it was a date or anything else, their color preference seemed to be blue, or black. And these were the two colors women liked most on men.

    2. It can determine our buying habits

    Supermarkets’ use of color has been mentioned in the introduction, and now you will see exactly how color affects our buying habits. First of all, the majority of your buys are based on the visual appearance of the product in question. You wouldn’t choose a damaged package over a brand new one, would you?

    Therefore, the physical appearance plays a big role in the retail industry. Moreover, most of the products are red because red “screams”. A product with a red label or packaging will grab your attention faster than any other product because it invites you to look at it.

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    This color works best on impulsive shoppers. Green, on the other hand, is the opposite. It is used in shops in order to relax the buyers. Green is often related to nature and the environment, hence the relaxing effect. Because of this relation to nature, many environmental organisations have a green logo, like Greenpeace, or the Animal Planet Channel.

    3. It can make us make healthier food choices

      As with everything in life, we choose food based on its look. If something is more colorful and bright, it will stand out in our field of view, and we will put all our attention on it. When it comes to food, colorful means healthy. Just think of fruits and vegetables. Each color has its own benefit. For example, orange foods (oranges, carrots, pumpkin) are rich with antioxidants. White foods (garlic, mushrooms, potatoes) are extremely good for your health because they have anti-inflammatory properties.

      Therefore, making your plate a rainbow of food colors is essential for your health. Try to include a fruit or a vegetable at least once per day. And more importantly, if you are a parent, include them in your child’s diet as soon as possible.

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      4. It can make us eat less

      How? Well, where do you usually eat? Probably your kitchen. What if I told you that the color of the kitchen walls, and plates, can affect your food intake. People who eat from red plates, eat less food. Additionally, white plates seem bigger than they actually are; therefore, no matter how much food you put on a white plate, it will seem like it’s never enough. So, white plates make you eat more. If you want to eat less, try blue plates, as blue can suppress your appetite.

      5. It can make us seem more aggressive and intimidating

      Certain shades can have a bad influence on our mood and state of mind. The colors that dominate here are dark ones. Black, navy blue, shades of grey – all of them look authoritative and intimidating. They create the illusion of seriousness and power. That’s why CEOs and other powerful people like wearing dark toned suits.

      Red, however, provokes aggressiveness. Something in our perception of red makes us go wild. Even though it can be a passionate color, it can also be aggressive and over-confident. For example, people who have red cars love to show off and think they have all the power in the world. Also, they attract a lot of attention, which only adds to this feeling.

      Just think of race cars or those classic supercars like Ferrari. They look best in red. When you see one, don’t you just want to jump in and immediately go 0 to 100? It makes your blood boil, doesn’t it? Making red cars was a great strategic move by Ferrari.

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      6. It can help soothe our minds and stay calm

      Meditation

        The opposite of aggression is calmness and peacefulness. Unlike the colors in the previous section, there are some that have a soothing effect on us. For example, the color blue. It represents the sky and sea, the elements that make us calm. Most bedrooms are painted blue for that exact reason.

        Moreover, a lot of office spaces are also blue because it’s believed that it awakens productivity. Another color with these properties is green. It symbolizes serenity and makes us feel close to nature. Additionally, yellow is thought to be an optimistic color. It can make us happy and stimulate our minds.

        These are just some of the biggest ways in which color affects our lives without us even realizing it. It’s quite interesting when you think about it, as a lot of animals don’t see the world of color that we have in our heads.

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        Ivan Dimitrijevic

        Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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        Last Updated on January 15, 2021

        7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

        7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

        The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

        Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

        Posture

        First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

        • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
        • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
        • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
        • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

        All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

        Facial Expressions

        Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

        • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
        • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
        • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

        If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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        1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

        A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

        The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

        This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

        2. Relax Your Face

        New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

        The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

        To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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        3. Improve Your Eye Contact

        Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

        The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

        To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

        3. Smile More

        There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

        Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

        4. Hand Gestures

        Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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        It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

        5. Enhance Your Handshake

        In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

        “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

        It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

        6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

        As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

        Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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        Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

        Final Takeaways

        Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

        If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

        More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

        Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

        Reference

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